Thursday, 14 December 2017

Chambers leads the way in lightweight single sculls at GB trials

THE established international athletes took top honours at the GB trials in Boston last Saturday, but promising performances by squad

THE established international athletes took top honours at the GB trials in Boston last Saturday, but promising performances by squad newcomers gave them top 10 finishes alongside the more experienced names.

Despite the Fen venue’s reputation amongst rowers as one of the coldest and windiest places on earth, Leander’s Olympic silver medallist, Richard Chambers, won the lightweight men’s singles in what he described as “flat calm conditions, possibly the best I’ve ever seen in Boston”.

But his club mate Charles Cousins was some five seconds adrift of Tideway Scullers’ Alan Campbell in the heavyweight men’s event, while Beth Rodford of Gloucester was the clear winner in women’s singles ahead of Leander’s Vicky Thornley. The withdrawal due to sickness of Leander’s Olympic champion Alex Gregory from the men’s pairs event allowed Molesey’s Andy Triggs Hodge and Mo Sbihi a clear win, more than 20 seconds clear of the nearest opposition.

As expected Olympic bronze medallist Alan Campbell won the 5km time trial in the men’s single, with a tight grouping at the top which included Charles Cousins, from the GB Olympic quad, as well as South African Olympian Peter Lambert. Australian Youth Olympic gold medallist Jack Beaumont, still under 20, showed well with a top-10 finish and Matt Langridge marked his return to competition after a long post-Olympic break.

Women’s quad gold medallist Beth Rodford won the equivalent women’s event in a time of 18 minutes, 44.05 seconds with Vicky Thornley taking second in one of her best sculling performances to date. Behind the leading duo three more Leander athletes, Vicky Meyer-Laker, Tina Stiller and Polly Swann, took fourth, sixth and eighth places ahead of longer-term squad members. Jamie Kirkwood, a world U23 lightweight men’s four champion in 2010, crept in amongst the big names in the lightweight men’s single scull with a third place behind winner Richard Chambers and second-placed Adam Freeman-Pask.

Speaking after the race, Richard Chambers said: “The conditions gave everyone a chance to show how fit and strong they were over 5km. I hit a rhythm within the first 100m and held it right over the course, so I paced it well.”

Richard Chambers’ younger brother Peter, like him an Olympic silver medallist, was fourth, with Leander’s Mikey Mottram and Chris Boddy fifth and sixth respectively.

Richard Chambers was in no doubt about his plans for the season and the long road to Rio 2016. He added: “I’ve done two Olympics in the four, so I’d like a change and do the double this year. But longer term I’d like to go back in the four there’s unfinished business there.”

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